The fourth stop on my Asian Invasion was to Hong Kong, China. I had just happened to be there on St. Patrick’s Day, so I headed to the more popular tourist area located on Hong Kong Island. I was pub hopping until I came to an Irish bar right around the corner from the Hard Rock Cafe.
There I met four German guys who all spoke English, and one of them was half German and half Chinese who spoke perfect Cantonese. We all had some whiskies and they invited me to go gambling/sightseeing with them in Macau the next morning. I had nothing better to do, so we had a few more drinks and then split a cab back to our hotels because we were only about a block from each other.
The next morning, I woke up and met one of the Germans at a pastry bar right around the corner. We both grabbed a small bite and ate at one of the nearby tai chi gardens while we waited for the other guys. There are tai chi parks spread all throughout Hong Kong, and each one is beautiful in its own right. After we all caught up with the others, one of the guys (Ben) took the rest us into a shopping mall located right at the harbor side of Victoria Bay. Located in this shopping mall was also the place to purchase ferry tickets to take people back and forth from Hong Kong to Macau. We purchased our tickets and then headed out to the ferries.
When I got out to the dock, I was looking for a tugboat type of ship that usually fits the description of steamboat, but not here in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, they use Turbojet Hydrofoil ferries. Every seat has a full buckle system because of the high speed at which the ferry moves, hovering over the water. After a quick 35–45 minute boat ride, we grabbed a taxi and headed to The Venetian for a little gambling. If you’re not familiar with Macau, let’s just say that it’s the Las Vegas of Southeast Asia. My newfound German buddies and I walked around and played some slots and some blackjack. After a little while they wanted to continue casino hopping, but I really wanted to go see some of the more historic parts of the city before the final ferry left that evening.
I walked around at a couple of neighboring casinos until I figured out a plan to get to some historic sights without spending too much. Just as I was coming up with a plan, I looked up and saw about 10 buses that leave the Venetian to go out into town and pick up guests as a nice gesture. So I jumped in line for the bus going to Senado Square. Senado square is an old Portuguese central plaza. It’s a Plaza that leads up the steps to the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Not too many people know this, but the Portuguese were the first outsiders to sail in from the Western World. The Portuguese were in Macau before the British were in Hong Kong. Senado Square has a beautiful and mind-bending black-and-white mosaic tile formation that is unmistakable. The Ruins of St. Paul’s is one of the oldest churches in Asia. It was completed in 1640 A.D. and burned down during a typhoon in 1835. I only had enough time to shop around for some local street food, hop around by bus to a couple more casinos and then meet my friends for the ferry ride back.
I can’t say that I was able to completely soak in the culture of Macau, but I would highly recommend it as a day trip from Hong Kong to Macau. You’ll get to catch a ride on the fastest and smoothest ferry you have ever been on to arrive at a place that is seriously giving Las Vegas a run for its money. At the same time, you can take in hundreds of years of history and culture still reflected in everyday life. I will definitely be back.